SBJ Unpacks

Sports Business Journal

Sports business is facing new global economic, political, and cultural changes. Unpacks is a new series from Sports Business Journal that analyzes how current trends are impacting sports business. Listen as SBJ editors and special guests provide trusted insights to help you navigate these dynamic, complex situations.

All Episodes

Zach Maurides infamously started his business called Teamworks in a Duke University classroom when he was a student. Now, the Chicago native’s organizational and communications platform is used by more than 1,000 college teams and the recent acquisitions of INFLCR and Notemeal have broadened the company into new areas of growth. In this edition of the SBJ Unpacks podcast, Michael Smith talks to Maurides about what has driven him as an entrepreneur and founder, the future of name, image and likeness and what convinced him to commit to Duke as a football recruit on his first college visit.

Nov 9

31 min 57 sec

AXS Chief Product Officer Michael Rojas and YellowHeart founder and CEO Josh Katz joined SBJ’s Bret McCormick to discuss blockchain’s potential impact on the ticketing and sports industries. The free-flowing conversation occurred at the AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises and Ticketing symposium in Las Vegas in late September.

Nov 1

32 min 6 sec

Aptim Director of Sustainability Lindsay Arell joined the Sports Business Journal’s Bret McCormick on the Unpacks podcast to discuss the Sustainable Sport Index, a new report she co-authored looking at the industry’s efforts in sustainability, health and wellness, and diversity and inclusion. Arell talked about the report’s results, including novel findings like 53% of the responding teams allow free water bottle refill in their venue, or that only 18% of the respondents have a devoted sustainability coordinator. And she touched on the report’s shortcomings, including areas where she and her co-authors intend to make improvements in what they’re planning to be an annual effort. The report is available for free download at

Oct 18

31 min 10 sec

Longtime sports business leader and innovator Larry Lucchino, a member of the 2021 class of SBJ’s Champions, talks with Senior Writer Bill King about developing new stadiums, why he insisted on being a part of both the business and the baseball sides, and breaking the curse of the Bambino.

Jul 30

19 min 26 sec

Theorycraft co-founder Lauren Flanagan joins The Esport Observer's Kevin Hitt to discuss OneTeam Partners' acquisition of her organization and what is next for Theorycraft

Jun 28

13 min 42 sec

Author Gerry Marzorati joins SBJ’s Bret McCormick to talk about his new book, “Seeing Serena,” and how his approach may be the future of sports writing.

Jun 21

26 min 16 sec

Wasserman's Elizabeth Lindsey and Jason Ranne stop by to talk about the company's new music venture with SBJ's Chris Smith.

Jun 14

26 min 28 sec

Media personality Cari Champion joins SBJ’s John Ourand to talk about how sports have changed since George Floyd’s death, her career post-ESPN, her love of the Los Angeles Lakers and her new podcast “Naked with Cari Champion.” Recorded May 18, 2021

May 19

29 min 25 sec

Whoop founder and CEO Will Ahmed joins SBJ’s Eric Prisbell to discuss the massive growth with the company and how the pandemic played a role in that growth.

May 18

23 min 41 sec

Phenix Real-Time Solutions' Chief Marketing Officer Jed Corenthal joins SBJ’s Eric Prisbell to delve into the sports betting space. It is the three year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case overturning the federal ban on sports betting. Where does the industry currently stand, and how will technology play a vital role in the growth of sports betting? *Recorded 5/13/21

May 14

25 min 31 sec

May 12

19 min 11 sec

Nielsen Senior VP/Diverse Insights & Initiatives Stacie de Armas joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to delve into the power of female athletes as social media and broadcast influencers, offering her examination of our industry’s commitment to gender equality, namely, within the context of this year's NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. *Recorded 4/15/21

Apr 16

24 min 13 sec

Tim Katz -- who is YouTube Director and Head of News & Sports Partnerships -- joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss year three of the MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube, which he believes exemplifies the video platform’s strategic vision for its live-sports business overall.

Apr 14

32 min 3 sec

Sports communications consultant Joe Favorito and SBJ’s Andrew Levin turn their attentions toward media engagement and adapting for content in a post-pandemic sports world, namely, via the hybrid event model, which embraces both in-person and virtual experiences simultaneously.

Apr 12

30 min 54 sec

Jackson State AD Ashley Robinson joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss dynamics related to the SWAC’s spring football season, namely, myriad impacts the school has experienced from its hiring of head coach Deion Sanders, media exposure on ESPN, and an eventual transition back to a traditional fall sports season, plus more. *Recorded 4/7/21

Apr 9

27 min 27 sec

American rock climber Alex Honnold is best known for his free solo ascents of big walls, in particular, El Capitan, chronicled in the 2018 biographical documentary “Free Solo,” which won a BAFTA and an Academy Award. Recently, Honnold launched his latest media project, “Climbing Gold,” a narrative podcast. He joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss that, plus other business dynamics surrounding rock climbing. *Recorded 4/6/21

Apr 7

33 min 4 sec

CLEAR Chair & CEO Caryn Seidman Becker’s company has significantly deepened its ties in sports amid the pandemic. She joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss the implications of, and growth plans for, CLEAR’s technology, including its Health Pass platform, which allows fans to quickly and securely confirm their identity via biometrics. *Recorded 4/1/21

Apr 2

25 min 31 sec

Barry Klarberg, who is Monarch Wealth and Business Management Founder & Managing Partner, joins SBJ's Terry Lefton to untangle the somewhat tangled world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). *Recorded 3/30/21

Mar 31

21 min 21 sec

Following victories against Ohio State and Florida in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament -- landing the No. 15 seed in the Sweet 16 -- Oral Roberts University AD Mike Carter joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to assess the impact of the school’s bracket-busting run, discussing broadcast and social media, as well as booster, sponsor, enrollment and attendance interest, plus other factors. *Recorded 3/25/21

Mar 26

29 min 2 sec

Having secured more than $30M in college athletics sponsorships in the past year, ISE Properties Exec VPs & co-Heads Owen Shull and Scott Malaga join SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss some recent deals, to break down the benefits and difficulties of selling during the pandemic, and to offer their expectations for when and how the collegiate marketplace will normalize post-COVID.

Mar 24

30 min 25 sec

VaynerSports’ vision has expanded significantly amid the pandemic, as what began as a small, football-only agency has added divisions in baseball, esports, and action and combat sports. With NFL free agency in full swing and with MLB Opening Day on the immediate horizon, SBJ's Andrew Levin catches up with VaynerSports co-Founder & co-CEO AJ Vaynerchuk and co-CEO Greg Genske to break down these recent expansions, plus more.

Mar 22

30 min 42 sec

Patricof Co has gathered a clientele of top-tier athletes to pool their capital to take stakes in ongoing private equity deals. SBJ’s Andrew Levin sits down with Mark Patricof, who lends his perspective as Founder, and Dolphins CB Byron Jones, who provides the athlete’s eye. *Recorded 3/18/21

Mar 19

32 min 4 sec

SBJ's Abe Madkour, John Ourand and Ben Fischer discuss the NFL's new media rights deals, which will pay the league $10 billion a year through 2033.

Mar 18

6 min 39 sec

With the NFL’s new league year officially having commenced, SBJ NFL beat reporter Ben Fischer joins Andrew Levin to discuss significant topics and offer his expectations as the league looks to transition out of the pandemic season toward more-normalized operations.

Mar 17

22 min 45 sec

To have authentic and intentional conversations about equity, we need to have a shared sense for where we are, how we got here and where we need to head with regard to racial inequality. In today’s podcast, Charles Ross, Ph.D. and Jamil Northcutt, Ph.D. will provide a foundation of understanding for anyone planning to attend SBJ ALL IN on March 30th – 31st and lay out some of the ways that sports organizations can improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the business.

Mar 16

51 min 17 sec

Overtime co-Founder & President Zack Weiner and Overtime Elite Commissioner & President Aaron Ryan join SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss the recently announced league -- planning to launch in September -- that will compensate basketball’s top high school-aged players with a salary of at least $100,000 guaranteed for the season, plus other benefits.

Mar 15

27 min 15 sec

Former Michigan State walk-on basketball player Mat Ishbia recently made headlines when he donated a staggering $32M to his alma mater’s athletics department, the single largest gift by an individual in school history. With March Madness approaching, Ishbia joins SBJ's Michael Smith to discuss the lessons he took from playing for Spartans coach Tom Izzo and the basketball concepts he has used to build his company, United Wholesale Mortgages or UWM, into a goliath, originating the second-most loans in the U.S. *Interview recorded 3/1/21

Mar 10

20 min 49 sec

Esports Bonus Podcast: SBJ’s Andrew Levin speaks with Enthusiast Gaming CEO Adrian Montgomery, namely, about the video game-focused digital media company’s drive to engage with GenZ, as well as myriad other topics including the future of live esports events and legalized betting’s impact on the space, plus more. *Interview recorded 3/9/21

Mar 10

26 min 55 sec

Bonus Pod: On the 50th anniversary of Ali-Frazier I, the “Fight of the Century,” longtime sportscaster Tim Ryan joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss his experience broadcasting the fight for Armed Forces Radio and New Zealand Public Radio. *Interview recorded 3/8/21

Mar 9

28 min 55 sec

It’s Int’l Women’s Day, and Twitter Head of Athlete & Sports Talent Partnership Brittany O’Hagan joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss her role with the social media company and how the platform goes about empowering female athletes and execs in the industry.

Mar 8

27 min 12 sec

Global sports business agency Sportfive -- rebranded from Lagardere Sports & Entertainment in May of 2020 -- has been making headlines of late, including a new global golf strategy, teaming with La Liga side Atlético Madrid, and cutting deals with the Lakers and Bulls. Sportfive Chief Growth Officer Robert Müller von Vultejus joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to break down these, plus more. *Interview recorded 2/26/21

Mar 3

27 min 13 sec

Katrina Adams, a former professional tennis player and the first black president and CEO of the USTA, and also the youngest to hold that position, is now a published author after her new book, “Own The Arena” was released Feb. 23. She joined Bret McCormick to discuss her new book, her many firsts as head of the USTA and some of the issues facing pro tennis in this episode of SBJ Unpacks.

Feb 26

19 min 16 sec

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss HBCU life and leadership amid the pandemic, as well as the conference’s virtual tournament-week experience, taking place currently.

Feb 25

27 min 45 sec

Elk Grove Village, Ill., Mayor Craig Johnson and 4FRONT co-Founder & Partner Dan Migala join SBJ's Andrew Levin to break down what motivated the municipality to dive into its unconventional sports sponsorships, to assess ROI, and to look ahead.

Feb 18

28 min 22 sec

UBS Global Wealth Management Head of Sports & Entertainment Adewale Ogunleye joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to share his story, namely, how his family and football career have motivated him to pursue his current work.

Feb 17

28 min 18 sec

With forces building toward the possibility of legalized sports betting in Canada, theScore VP/Marketing & Content Aubrey Levy joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss what the opportunity would mean for the Toronto-based company, as well as its strategy in the U.S.

Feb 16

27 min 29 sec

ESPN’s Karl & Sam Ravech join SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss how their father-son relationship has benefitted one another professionally, and to break down the dynamics of remote game broadcasts.

Feb 15

31 min 11 sec

Wrapping up our Super Bowl LV-week coverage on the pod with TB12 CEO John Burns, who joins SBJ's Andrew Levin to break down how co-Founder Tom Brady's presence in Sunday's game impacts the company, how it has maintained brand relevance during the pandemic and growth opportunities moving forward. *Interview recorded 2/4/21

Feb 5

27 min 6 sec

PepsiCo Senior VP/Media, Sports & Entertainment Marketing Adam Harter joins SBJ's Terry Lefton to discuss plans for, and the impact of, the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show, which will feature The Weeknd and mark the company's 10th year as Halftime Show sponsor. *Interview recorded 2/3/21

Feb 4

16 min 4 sec

Steinberg Sports & Entertainment Chair & CEO Leigh Steinberg joins SBJ's Andrew Levin to discuss his pivot to a virtual Super Bowl party this year, to tell stories across decades on the Super Bowl’s scene, and to delve into his agency’s marquee representation of Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. *Interview recorded 2/2/21

Feb 3

24 min 43 sec

Fritz Pollard Alliance Executive Director Rod Graves joins SBJ's Andrew Levin to assess minority-hiring trends across the NFL, including the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, and potential solutions moving forward. *Interview recorded 2/1/21

Feb 2

29 min 32 sec

Kicking off our Super Bowl LV week coverage with ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes, who joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss her plans to be on-site with the “NFL Live” crew later this week, and to break down the matchup utilizing her new-age analytical approach. *Interview recorded 1/29/21

Feb 1

25 min 58 sec

ESPN VP/X Games Tim Reed joins SBJ's Andrew Levin to break down what it has taken to make this weekend's X Games Aspen event happen, including health-and-safety protocol for athletes and staffers, engaging virtually with fans, working with sponsors, plus more. *Interview recorded 1/25/21

Jan 26

25 min 43 sec

Turner's Brian Anderson takes SBJ’s Andrew Levin on a virtual tour of his in-home studio, where he does play-by-play for the “NBA on TNT.” Anderson also breaks down challenges involved with calling games from a monitor, and how broadcasting has evolved as a result of the pandemic.

Jan 25

29 min 47 sec

Bret McCormick was joined by Stuart Duguid, Naomi Osaka’s agent, to discuss Osaka’s recent competitive and business hot streak, what Osaka looks for in a sponsor, how Duguid, from IMG Tennis, part of WME Sports, markets Osaka’s quirky personality and multiculturalism, and more about Duguid’s personal journey to becoming one of tennis’ top player representatives, in this episode of SBJ Unpacks.

Jan 22

27 min 48 sec

Double-Pod: First, a conversation with Dynamo FC President of Business Operations John Walker about the club’s November rebrand. Then, one with CF Montreal President & CEO Kevin Gilmore about his club’s brand change, formally unveiled last week. *Interviews recorded 1/20/21

Jan 21

30 min 44 sec

Ole Miss Senior Associate AD/Social Responsibility & Engagement Dr. Jennifer Saxon joins SBJ’s Andrew Levin to discuss the athletic program’s recently-launched department, and how it will enrich the experience of student-athletes, coaches and staff on-campus.

Jan 20

23 min 5 sec

Sports Innovation Lab co-Founder & CEO Angela Ruggiero joins SBJ's Andrew Levin to break down the recently-released Top 25 Most Innovative Teams In The World list.

Jan 19

23 min 56 sec